SOLIHULL’S only acute psychiatric unit has closed its doors to all patients after a shake-up of services for the region.
The axe fell on the Bruce Burns Unit, located in Solihull Hospital, just before Christmas following a consultation carried out by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) about changes to adult mental health, community and inpatient services.
The 16-bed unit provided care and treatment at the Lode Lane hospital for those with complex needs and who require more specialist care.
Patients from Birmingham and Solihull requiring in-patient treatment are now being offered services in Sparkhill, Erdington, Egbaston, Winston Green and Small Heath.
Solihull MP, Julian Knight, said: “It’s very disappointing that, after months of representation, and despite deep public concern, the long-trailed closure of the Bruce Burns unit is going ahead.
“I’ve met with BSMHFT to discuss continued provision of acute mental health services in our town.
“My office is here for families experiencing hardship due to these changes, and my team and I will represent anyone, at any time.”
Campaigners including Amber Hindle spoke out against the closing the unit when the consultation was in full swing and said it could have a detrimental effect on Silhillians who are admitted.
She added: “An important part of the recovery process from mental ill-health is to have visits from family and friends and I fear that when the Bruce Burns ward closes and patients from Solihull are having to be treated further afield will mean that patients will not be able to receive as many visits as they need or would like because of the travel distance and costs.”
The results of the consultation revealed that despite many compelling reasons, along with patients’ and families’ desires to have a local facility in Solihull, some understood the proposed changes were suggested to deliver a better overall service for the money available.
A spokesperson on behalf of Solihull CCG said: “There were a number of themes that emerged from the consultation that commissioners in Birmingham and Solihull are now discussing with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.
“Alongside these, which included appropriate support to people at the point of crisis, the Trust is working to address the concerns raised and reassure patients living in Solihull about access and travel to services located in Birmingham and delivery of community services and staffing.
“Following this feedback we will now continue to work with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust and our commissioning colleagues in Birmingham and, together with them, we will also be reviewing the capacity of both community and inpatient services.
“We will monitor the numbers of Solihull patients in acute mental health beds and the numbers requiring out of area placements.”